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Research Fellow - Skouta Lab

University of Massachusetts Amherst
UMass Amherst

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Faculty Jobs
Science & Technology, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Job no: 506437
Work type: Senior/Research Fellow (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Biology
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: Laboratory & Research

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

The Skouta group ( is seeking a highly motivated Research Fellow with chemical biology and pharmaceutical chemistry expertise to join the laboratory. The Skouta group research covers chemical biology, chemistry, protein chemistry, computer modeling, biological assays and in vitro studies. The major interest of the lab is the development of small molecule inducers of ferroptosis cell death with well-defined target(s) for cancer therapeutics. Ferroptosis is a recently emerged novel cell death that may complement the known programmed cell death (PMID: 27159577; PMID: 24592866).

The successful candidate will be involved in the screening of small molecules in vitro, the design and synthesis of small molecule drug candidates with well-defined mode of action for the development of better therapeutic treatments. The successful candidate will also be working in a collaborative project with UMass-Medical School at Worcester.

The candidate needs be to proficient in cell culture of cancer cells and drug screening in addition to designing synthetic routes and solving challenging problems in multi-step synthesis of the hit compounds. The candidate also needs to have pharmaceutical chemistry knowledge including but not limited to ligand-receptor interactions and structure-based drug design, SAR exploration, parallel and library synthesis, biological tests including cell line assay studies, etc. The appointee is expected to establish some independence in research design and execution, and to publish his/her work as appropriate in collaboration with the principal investigator.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Drug screening against a panel of cancer cells
  • Develop an elegant synthetic pathway of the desired scaffold to create a set of analogs with high purity for biology testing.
  • Structure activity relationship study an invitro testing of biologically active compounds with better drug-like properties
  • ADME/PK/toxicity testing
  • Dissecting the compounds programmed cell death pathways (apoptosis, autophagy and ferroptosis) using pharmacological agents.
  • Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.
  • Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • The successful candidate must have a MS in pharmaceutical sciences, chemical biology, chemistry, or a related field.
  • At least one year of MS time lab experience in pharmaceutical sciences, chemical biology or chemistry is required.
  • Previous work with drug evaluating small molecules against a panel of cell lines.
  • Previous work with drug inducing programmed cell death pathways (apoptosis, autophagy and ferroptosis).
  • Previous work with drug design and creation of novel molecules.
  • Experience with mentoring students and collaborative work with other groups.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Needs be to proficient in pharmaceutical chemistry including designing synthetic routes and solving challenging problems in multi-step synthesis.
  • Needs be to proficient in cell culture and drug testing.
  • Physical Demands/Working Conditions

    Manual dexterity and laboratory skills consistent with the research being performed.

    Additional Details

  • Direct supervision by the P.I. Dr. Rachid Skouta ( and work closely with Dr. Michael Green at the Med School (
  • May help mentor students.
  • Will establish some independence in research design and execution, and to publish his/her work as appropriate in collaboration with the principal investigator.
  • Work Schedule

    • Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.
    • Hours may vary.

    Salary Information

    Salary will commensurate with qualifications and experience and is consistent with bargaining unit contract.

    Special Instructions to Applicants

    To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, a summary of research accomplishments and contact information for three professional references. Apply by October 19, 2020 in order to ensure priority consideration. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

    As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.

    UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

    Advertised: Oct 7 2020 Eastern Daylight Time
    Applications close:


    The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the preeminent public research universities in America. Nestled in idyllic Amherst, Massachusetts—often called “The top college town in North America”—the campus is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, and offers a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers. 

    As one of the nation's top public research universities – as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations, and research funding – the campus spends more than $180 million on research each year, demonstrating its contribution to the nation’s position as a technological and economic leader. The university works in conjunction with academic, government, and private partners to translate new knowledge and scientific discoveries into technical innovations and scholarly works that create opportunities for students, faculty and the public. 

    Eight schools and colleges offer more than 85 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs, many counted among the top programs in the nation and world. UMass Amherst is also home to New England's premier honors college.

    The 1,159 full-time faculty members are dedicated teachers and world-renowned researchers and the campus has regularly been listed among the top performers in terms of faculty awards. With over 24,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the student body is the most academically successful in the history of the campus. Students participate in 240 organizations, 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, extensive intramurals, living-learning residence halls, community service, and internships. With one of the largest residential life systems in the nation, UMass Amherst houses approximately 12,000 students on campus. The university is enjoying a facilities renaissance, including new buildings in the sciences, the arts, and recreation. UMass Amherst is part of the Five College consortium with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

    As an employer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national leader in developing family-friendly policies, benefits and amenities designed to help faculty members develop both productive careers and satisfying personal lives. The university offers one of the nation’s most generous parental leave policies. The university is also part of the Academic Career Network, a regional consortium formed to serve dual-career couples and encourage greater diversity in the academy.


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